The Fifty Shades trilogy ends with a lot of action, emotional tension and flashes of enlightenment; fans will be satisfied...

FIFTY SHADES FREED

From the Fifty Shades Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Ana and Christian get married, but continued physical and emotional threats, as well as Christian’s need for control, mitigate their bliss.

At the end of Fifty Shades Darker, Anastasia Steele agrees to marry her beloved magnate-billionaire boyfriend, Christian Grey. Fifty Shades Freed starts with their wedding and honeymoon, a fairy-tale journey through Europe that leaves Ana amazed and conflicted. Uncertain about her own ambitions and identity in the face of Grey’s staggering wealth and heady sexual pull, Ana sets out to stake a claim in the publishing world, helped and hindered by the fact that Christian has bought the company. Her continued personal and professional ambivalence is forgotten as she deals with personal tragedy; then exacerbated by a chafing desire for some individual freedom; and finally overshadowed by a continued threat that hovers over Ana and Christian from an old, malevolent enemy with connections to Grey’s past no one would expect and Christian doesn’t remember. Navigating a breathless few weeks of nonstop action and emotional turmoil, Ana makes some critical errors in judgment that will impact the couple forever, and Christian must finally confront some profound, painful truths in order to move forward to the life he never believed possible, but which rests within his grasp. James’ final segment of the hugely popular Fifty Shades trilogy continues along in the same vein as Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker—some compelling story arcs and a romantic “what-if” fairy-tale scenario. Ana comes across as more rather than less mature and poised in this book in some ways, particularly in her ability to whip up righteous anger toward Christian for being suffocating and stalker-ish—in order to keep her safe in the face of real danger—while taking little to no responsibility for breaking her own promises that compromise her safety. In general, the flow is decent, the story is well-paced and the dialogue remains better than expected, but there is a lot packed into this book, and it can be a little overwhelming and unbelievable. At times, too, Ana, rather than Christian, comes across as rigid and difficult, creating trumped up conflict. However, since the true function of this book is to assure the many Fifty Shades fans that all is well in Ana and Christian’s world, and they truly can overcome any and every possible thing, then the mission is accomplished in a satisfying way, with a healthy dose of hot sex. The short chapters at the end of the book—unmarked prologue and epilogue from Christian’s point of view—offer an intriguing peek into Christian’s psyche.

The Fifty Shades trilogy ends with a lot of action, emotional tension and flashes of enlightenment; fans will be satisfied that all’s well that ends well in the Grey house...er, mansion.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-345-80350-4

Page Count: 583

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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